Had you been close to my house ten minutes ago, you would have heard a loud "squeak". That was the sound of me pressing "Send" as I sent off the first six chapters of my book on the Order of the Garter to the very patient editor at the big US press I hope will publish this book. We've never signed a contract to publish, which was a good idea as I would never have met a deadline, and it would have just been a source of stress (as I'm writing this post, I can see in the email "progress" window that a quarter of the ms. has now been sent).
The deal is that these chapters can now go out to be read, while I finish the last, a third of which is drafted.
There are many stages to go, of course. If the reports are positive, I hope we'll then sign a contract; and while I secretly hope and believe the readers will think it's perfect as it is, there will certainly be changes to make. Then there's final approval, copy-editing (half of the message has now gone), tracking down of permissions for images, checking, and cross-checking of references, compilation of bibliography and all the rest of it.
Still, this is a big day: the first, very big milestone on the last stretch towards completion.
What am I going to do now?
I'm going to go outside and feed the goldfish, then come back in and work on a grant application for an hour or so. And then tonight, I am going to see this. How's that for timing?
And how's this? Entourage has just played its little chimes: message SENT.